The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed that it is investigating Apple and Google over their dominant position in the mobile market.
That includes the Android and iOS operating systems, both app stores, and the Safari and Chrome web browsers.
“CMA is concerned that this could lead to less innovation across sectors and consumers paying higher prices for devices and applications, or for other goods and services due to higher advertising prices,” the authority said.
Google says its Android ecosystem generates £2.8 billion in revenue for UK developers and supports 240,000 jobs. It also said it had made major changes to its terms based on discussions with regulators – such as the EU.
Apple has also been contacted for comment.
Highlights the question of whether one of the two tech giants has market power over other businesses – including app developers who rely on their app stores.
That has been a major problem for the mobile industry over the past year, especially since Epic Games launched high-profile legal action against Apple and Google, alleging unfair business practices.
📱 We’ve launched a market study into #Apple‘s and #Google‘s mobile ecosystems, to take a close look at whether they have market power which could be affecting competition across a range of areas.— Competition & Markets Authority (@CMAgovUK) June 15, 2021
Read more: https://t.co/MbKBV5k9Dx#Digital #Apps pic.twitter.com/ie4ezEQoXu
“Apple and Google control the primary gateway through which people download apps or surf the web on their phones – whether they want to shop, play games, stream music or watch TV,” said CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.
A Google spokesperson said the company welcomes “attempts to understand” CMA before implementing the new rules.
“Android gives people more choice than any other mobile platform in deciding which apps they will use, and enables thousands of developers and manufacturers to build successful businesses,” he said.
Apple is already being investigated by the CMA over its App Store, and whether its lawsuits against app developers are anti-competitive.
Google, too, is being investigated for a proposed new privacy system, over concerns it could affect news publishers and the wider digital advertising market.
The CMA said that while both topics were “within the scope” of the new investigation, it was also “much wider”.
The investigation will last no more than a year, officials said.